This is an incredible offer of one of Australia's most consistent, highly regarded and pound for pound, great value Shiraz wines. It is a multi-vintage pack spanning vintages 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. It is from the benchmark Shaw + Smith winery in the Adelaide Hills and the wine is being shipped to Press directly from the winery cellars, where they have been since production. A little caveat, one of us works full time for Shaw + Smith but vouches for the high quality and precision involved in this range.
We tasted the wines this month and the quality is incredible across the board. These are savoury, elegant, medium bodied and fine Shiraz wines with fragrant aromas and flavours of red fruits, graphite, lead and pepper. They are weightless and effortless on the palate, with the older two showing nice development. The younger of the wines show quality, balance and freshness that drink well now, but will reward further ageing. The intent here is to show you the subtle shifts between seasons in this cool climate region, and how well grown and made Shiraz ages over a six-year period.
The wines have all been produced under the watchful eye of head winemaker Adam Wadewitz. Adam has a strong affinity for Shiraz, growing up in McLaren Vale, working many vintages as winemaker at Best’s in Western Victoria, followed by a stint at Seppelt before the move to Shaw + Smith in 2012. There are other serious wine minds and palates at the winery that maintain the high level, with owners Martin Shaw, Michael Hill-Smith MW, and David LeMire MW.
The consistency in reviews also highlights the quality, and the notes below are on each vintage, directly from the winery. For those that purchase the pack, there will be a link to a short video with Adam and Michael talking through each vintage.
2012 - 97pts James Halliday
The 2012 vintage was excellent for the Adelaide Hills, with relatively small crops which ripened in close to perfect conditions. The 2012 Shiraz is in a really nice place in its evolution, with lovely balance and integration of tannin and fruit, and some development adding complexity and interest. There are blue fruit, plums, and more savoury earthy, olive, and roasted herb notes. Drinking well now and will keep evolving slowly over the next 5 – 7 years.
2013 - 97pts James Halliday, 96pts James Suckling
The 2013 combined good yields with excellent ripeness and there is a power and breadth to the wines. The season was a dry one, and the fruit was in perfect condition. The wine shows remarkable freshness and sweet fruit, with a candied, red liquorice note on the nose, with some vanilla and pie crust. One of the fleshier styles in the line-up, with plenty of primary red and blue fruit, and notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Long and succulent and satisfying on the palate. Drink now or over the next 6 – 8 years.
2014 - 96pts James Halliday, 95pts James Suckling
The 2014 season was a very memorable one. It was on track to be a late vintage until a string of hot weather in late January and early February. The weather broke on Valentine’s Day, and over 48 hours on the 14th and 15th we got of 100 – 150mls of rain, making it the wettest February in 44 years. Mild autumnal weather followed, and the vintage did end up being a late one, strongly influenced by the cool ripening conditions that followed for 6 weeks after the rain. The 2014 Shiraz has a stunning floral nose with violets and pepper. It is finer and lighter on the palate than 2012 or 2013, and more savoury, with fennel seed and red cherry notes, and chalky tannins. A true reflection of the cool, late season. Drink now or over the next 4 - 6 years.
2015 - 97pts James Halliday, 96pts James Suckling, 95pts Huon Hooke
2015 was a remarkable vintage with above average winter rainfall ensuring a good start to the growing season. Warm weather in late-December / early-January was moderated by useful rain on the 13th of January. The 2015 Shiraz is appealing and complex on the nose, with the power, intensity and prettiness of the vintage all on show. There are red and dark berries (raspberries, mulberries) toasted spice and florals, and a generous but still medium bodied frame. Drink right now or contemplate the right occasion over the next 8 - 10 years.
2016 - 97pts James Halliday, 96pts Wine Front, 95pts James Suckling
September’s start to the growing season was warmer than average leading to good canopy and fruit development. January rainfall provided relief from earlier warmer temperatures and was timely to aid fruit development through the ripening period, resulting in healthy fruit being harvested two weeks earlier than average. Fresh on the nose, with vanilla pod, raspberry coulis, and five spice notes. An intense and firm palate, with the strongest tannin profile of the group. It needs time to settle down and meld – there is great intensity and freshness, and it will be fascinating as it softens and integrates further. Drink from 2022, and for a further 8 - 10 years after that.
2017 - 97pts James Halliday, 95pts Huon Hooke
A late, very cool vintage. Acids were high, with great flavour from time on the vine and much more pepper and spice in the reds. 2017 Shiraz is youthful and backward, with great energy and promise. Livery and fresh, with some tart red fruit, and the spice and dried herbs a reminder of the whole bunches in the ferment. Lots of interest and complexity but it needs time. Violets, fennel, rhubarb, strawberries, cayenne pepper, blueberry, redcurrant and others have their moment, but it’s the shape and verve and tightly wound energy that leaves the biggest impression. It’s an expression of the essence of the high cool Hills, using Shiraz. Drink from 2022, and for a further 8 – 10 years after that.
Tom and Dan